The second day of a three-day regatta is referred to as “moving day,” where competitors weigh greater risk and reward to advance up the leaderboard, and as a result, there’s often quite a bit of shuffling in the standings as greater risks also come with greater ramifications. This was the story today at the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series in Annapolis where the Chesapeake Bay current was still moving swiftly. There were plenty of changes up and down the scoreboard. With a light and variable easterly, some of the 11 fleets got in two races, others only one before the late afternoon breeze faded and the race committee sent the sailors packing.
The Alberg 30 classics, sailing for their Maple Leaf Championship, completed one race after a morning postponement onshore and were halfway through the next before the race was abandoned. Raymond Bay’s team on Laughing Gull was winning that race by a healthy margin and was disappointed to not be able to pocket a win, but a third in the previous race was enough to bump them to the top of the standings, 1 point ahead of perennial class champion TC Williams’ Argo.
“Consistency and good roundings has been key for us,” says Bay, who is refurbishing his own Alberg 30 and borrowed Laughing Gull for the weekend series. This is his first Alberg 30 regatta.
“It’s also the first time I’ve raced a full-keel boat like this, so there’s been a bit of a learning curve, but we are starting to figure it out. Getting off the starting line has been the hardest thing because, if you stop an Alberg 30 anywhere near 30 seconds before the start, you will be late. It’s a 9,000-pound boat so it takes longer than you think to get it to full speed.”
Bay says Williams’ crew on Argo had a spinnaker mishap in the day’s only scored race and finished fifth, resulting in only 1 point between them going into Sunday’s races. Bay says he’ll be focusing on sailing his own race but keeping close tabs on Williams. “It’ll be about sailing fast and getting off the line,” Bay says. “I like to sail low and fast and TC knows he can pinch me off, so that will be key: getting off the start, getting away from TC and getting to where I need to.”
On the same near-shore race circle, local J/22 skipper Brad Julian and his team on Yard Sail moved into second place, posting a first and a sixth in the two races sailed. “Sticking with our strategy, starting on the pin and working the left shifts helped us win today,” Julian says. “We were set up so that we had control to execute our plan instead of getting controlled.”
Julian and his crew are only 5 points behind Aden King’s Rhythmic Pumping, the current leader, but lurking 4 points behind is Jeff Todd’s Hot Toddy, a perennial winner at this regatta and a local ace who can never be discounted. Yard Sail will have their work cut out for them as they move into the final day of racing.
Another team to advance on moving day was Martin Casey’s Life of Riley, which won the day’s only race in the Viper 640 fleet and bumped them to the top of the standings. “We had a great start and were able to control the race in the light breeze today,” says Jason Currie, the team’s tactician. “Going into tomorrow, we plan on sailing consistent races and consolidating our win.”
Yesterday’s Viper 640 leader, Jimmy Praley’s Robot Flamingo, is only 3 points in arrears, however, and with both teams having won two races apiece, this battle will be one to watch.
While moving day is about climbing the scoreboard, it’s also about preservation for those holding onto tenable leads: Brian Keane’s Savasana’s scored a third in the only J/70 fleet race of the day, won by Doug Newhouse’s Yonder, to keep its lead, now down to 2 points; Pete Kassel’s Spaceman Spiff continued its dominance in the J/24 fleet; John and Mary Driver remain the top Wayfarer team and Matt Lalumiere’s Cash Money won a race to pad his lead to 3 points.
Annapolis locals Bryan Stout and Lizzie Chiochetti also held on to their lead in the Melges 15 fleet with a fifth-place finish. “Today was tricky because our fleet was sailing through a lot of current in our minimum breeze conditions, but I’m super glad that we got a race off,” Stout says. “Tomorrow, I’m going into it with a fresh eye. Our boat has been fast all weekend and I’m glad that that’s doing us well.”
Close behind the pair are Britton and Heather Steele, who finished today’s race in third and are only 3 points out of the lead.
Bruce Irvin and his team on the J/30 Shamrock are still the top boat contending for J/30 East Coast Championship, having finished third in the day’s extremely light conditions. “We were just trying to keep the boat moving through the light breeze and strong current today,” Irvin says. “Tomorrow, we will stay right with our main competitor, Bebop, and just try to get off the line clean and control the beat.
Shamrock goes into tomorrow’s final races with 2 points to spare on Bob Rutsch and Mike Costello Bebop, with both teams having won a race thus far in the series.
Today’s racing featured the addition of the Distance Race fleet, with nearly a dozen boats dispatched on a long course traversing the Bay. In the ORC fleet, Ben Capuco and his Aerodyne 38 Zuul were one of only three boats to finish before the time limit expired. The race was won by James Sagerholm’s J/35 Aunt Jean and none of the PHRF entrants finished the race, so there are no results for this fleet.
“Being just a little bit faster in the current and finding that right finger of wind to get us to the bridge made our race,” Capuco says. “There was a lot of tight reaching today.”
Racing resumes with an 11:00 am start for all classes on Sunday, with the final awards to be presented at host Annapolis YC later in the day when one overall winner will be selected to compete in the Helly Hansen Caribbean Championship in the British Virgin Islands in October.